There is a lot of information out there on how to grow your business. We have been helping people grow their businesses for many years now, and we know what it takes. We also know how confused people are over what they hear and read. It worked for so and so, why isn’t it working for me?
The reality is that every business is different, and every business has its own process when it comes to finding success. However, there are some common myths that we keep hearing time and time again that are actually preventing your business from reaching its maximum growth potential.
Most of these myths are based on information that was either once true but no longer holds value in this digital age, or information that has only worked for a very small percentage of businesses.
Growing is an ongoing process of trial and error for any business, however these are the most common myths that we see holding brands back from reaching their fullest potential-
Myth #1: A Mobile Optimised Website Doesn’t Matter
Mobile continues to be one of the dominating forces when it comes to online growth. Many consumers and clients are using their phone to look up brands and businesses, purchase products, read reviews and share on social media.
Web use on mobile phones is also growing at staggering rates. In fact, in 2015 it was discovered that 80 percent of the population are accessing the internet on their smartphones. This number is expected to be higher in 2016 and even higher in 2017.
This means that it is imperative that your brand is equipped with a solid mobile site that works effectively. This includes ensuring that your mobile site is-
- Optimised for smaller screens
- Communicates a clear call to action
- Is touch screen friendly (ie. bigger call to action buttons)
- Has secure and easy payment processing
- Is linked to social media accounts
- Has clear and easy to read text
Most brands are discovering that once they implement an effective mobile page their search traffic increases and they receive more sales and social media engagement. This is partly due to the fact that Google gives preference to brands that have a mobile page and rank mobile-friendly pages higher in their search results.
If your brand still has not created a mobile friendly page, the time to act is definitely now. All sorts of clients, customers and businesses are using smartphones, so it is imperative that your brand has a name for itself in the world of mobile.
Myth 2: SEO Doesn’t Matter Anymore
There has been a lot of information out there in recent years about the death of SEO. The truth is however, SEO is still very much alive, it is just different to what it was a few years ago.
Many years ago, SEO was a methodical process. Even if there was no real definitive guideline from search engines on how to improve your rankings, there were some tried and true methods that held value. Today however, many of these tried and true methods are out of date.
This doesn’t mean that SEO is dead, all it means is that businesses need to change their approach when it comes to how they optimise their site.
In today’s age, for SEO to be effective you must-
- Offer content that is meaningful and valuable
- Feature keywords but don’t keyword stuff (max 1-3 keywords every 1,000 words)
- Have a mobile friendly web page
- Be present on social media
- Keep your website up to date and active
- Have an engaging website that keeps users interested
- Build Links
- Post guest articles or blogs on other sites
- Offer a variety of content styles (ie. SlideShare, Infographics etc.)
You can read more about creating an SEO friendly website here.
With many brands spending big budgets on SEO, it is imperative that your business keeps up by having a solid SEO strategy.
Building a solid SEO strategy can also help improve organic traffic and help your business to stand out from the competition.
Myth #3: Social Media is Not Important In My Industry
Every business big or small can benefit from social media. In fact, in this day and age being on social media is imperative to getting your brand noticed.
Even if you don’t think your customers are particularly active on social media, having a social profile can help to boost your authority, reputation and search ranking results.
Having a strategic social media marketing strategy can also help to build an open communication between you and your customers, which can help your brand to stand out from the crowd.
Being on social media is important, but it doesn’t mean that you need to join every social network out there. You can be strategic about the types of networks you choose to be on. For example, your B2B brand may not find it helpful to be on Snapchat, but being on LinkedIn may be a better fit.
Here is a list of all the popular social media networks and what they are beneficial for:
LinkedIn: excellent for networking, building relationships with businesses, increasing exposure as an industry leader, building client lists, promoting industry knowledge and finding employees/employers.
Facebook: excellent for reaching customers and building a community or following, good for local and online brands, main user base aged 25-45, great for sharing content and providing valuable information.
Instagram: great for showcasing products and sharing inspiring messages/art; good for fashion brands and for helping followers get to know your brand.
Twitter: good for networking and building up authority in your industry, great for instantly updating your fans and providing quick messages, excellent place to share content and images.
Pinterest: great for showcasing products and services, excellent for sharing infographics and slides; main user base is middle-aged females.
SnapChat: good for promoting events, main user base aged 15-25; an excellent way to reach a younger audience.
The best way to make social media work for your brand is to pick 1-3 social media platforms that you feel will resonate with your audience best and focus on building those.
While you don’t need to be present on every social network under the sun, being a part of at least two is recommended for optimal growth.
Myth #4: Blogging is a Waste of Time
If you have a company blog that very few people are reading, you may be asking yourself- is this a complete waste of time?
Blogging and writing content is one of the most effective ways to grow your business, even if it may not seem that way to begin with.
Even if you are not getting tonnes of readers, having a regularly updated blog helps to –
- Improve your SEO rankings
- Increase organic traffic to your site
- Build your social profile in your industry
- Build your reputation and establish you as an authority
- Increase engagement between you and your audience
- Build an email list that you can later market to
For most brands, the main mission of your blog should not be to get millions of readers. Instead, it should be to educate your readers that are interested in your products and services and offer them access to your business and what it stands for. This in turn, will help your readers to feel confident and comfortable in using your brand’s products or services.
If you run a blog and that is all that you do, having many readers may be a priority, but for businesses having a blog is more about getting exposure in a different, more indirect way.
If you want your brand to reach its full growth potential, having a blog that is updated weekly is paramount. You may also want to experiment with different content types as well such as infographics, slides, images and more.
Myth #5: A Negative Online Review is Going to Destroy Your Business
Having a negative review of your business online is never pleasant to see, however it definitely does not indicate that your business is doomed for all of eternity.
In one study it was actually found that brands that had all positive reviews were just as likely to be less trusted as brands with negative reviews. This is because many consumers don’t trust businesses that only have glowing 5-star reviews. In some consumer’s minds, having glowing reviews with no negative feedback could be a sign of manipulation or that they are fake.
What people really trusted when it came to reading reviews however, was how brands responded to negative feedback. When a representative from the business replied to the negative feedback and provided a friendly solution, people were more likely to trust the brand.
If you do find a negative review, the best thing you can do is take the time to address it by offering an opportunity to make it right with the customer. Try your best to also reach out to the negative reviewer on the platform that the review was written on. This will help other potential customers to see that you do care and that you have your customer’s best interest at heart.
It is also important to remember however, that you cannot please everyone. Even if you reach out to make amends, some people are just not interested. If that is the case, let the negative review go and move on.
Myth #6: More of Everything is Better for Growth
Some businesses fall into the trap of believing that more products, more content and more of everything that they can produce will help them to grow faster and quicker.
More often than not, creating more not only drains your resources but also leads to inefficiency. Instead of acquiring more, sometimes it is better for businesses to focus on scaling what they already have.
There is no point bringing in ten new products if your existing products are failing to sell. The better alternative would be to use your resources to work out a way to increase sales of your existing products and work out proven reasons as to maybe why they are not selling as fast as you would like them to.
Less is definitely more when it comes to business. You may have the best products in the entire world, but if your marketing strategy is not up to scratch, selling your awesome products are going to be near impossible.
While you definitely want to ensure your product is amazing and valuable, you also need to ensure that you have the marketing strategy to back it up.
This is going to help ensure that your business can produce sustained and lasting growth.
“Great marketing won’t save a shitty product, but with shitty marketing, even a great product doesn’t stand a chance”- @groove
Myth #7: Go After the Bigger Clients
Scoring a big client or a big deal is great for any business, however focusing all your attention onto acquiring these deals can stunt your growth.
The reality is this, big businesses are far and few between, whereas smaller or mid-sized businesses are a plenty. If you simply ignore the smaller or mid-sized businesses, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to grow and scale your business.
The same goes for businesses that are looking to generate sales from consumers. It is better to go after many average spending consumers than waste your time only going from those consumers that spend big bucks.
Who your business chooses to target will depend on many factors, but designing your business to succeed by only scoring big tickets clients and sales will be setting your brand up for disaster.
While you don’t have to cater to every business and budget around, it may be benefical to have a more more open-minded approach when it comes to the types of clients or sales that you are focused on.
You may also want to consider offering options that suit at least two types of budgets, this will help your products or services to be more accessible to a wider range of customers and companies.
Myth #8: Marketing Should Only Be Done Online
Even though online marketing is huge, it doesn’t mean you should forget other mediums as well.
Marketing is more effective when it is spread across multiple channels such as TV, radio and newspapers, as this helps your message to be seen by a wider audience.
Focusing all your energy on digital marketing only provides you with part of the picture. While in today’s day and age it may be a huge portion of the picture, studies show that using other platforms can still be effective.
One study conducted by TiVo Research found that 84 percent of media companies that cut TV advertising experienced a 15 percent decline in sales.
According to Betsy Rella, the vice president of TiVo Research-
“In today’s multi-screen content universe, consumer brands are reallocating advertising dollars to digital spend, however our research has found that TV advertising is more effective than ever.”
There is still a huge percentage of the population that watches TV, reads newspapers and magazines and looks at billboards, so for your brand to really grow, consider implementing a few of these more traditional platforms.
It may also be worth getting out in your local community and networking at local events such as markets, festivals and fundraisers.
No matter which platforms you choose to focus on, just ensure that they are all working together to support a common marketing message and objective.
Myth #9: You Can Do Everything All By Yourself
As a business owner you probably have many talents, but it is impossible to be truly good at everything.
In order for your business to grow, you need the brain power of more than one individual and you need to surround yourself with people who are skilled at things that you are not.
This may mean you need to hire staff, mentors or freelancers who can help with different areas of your business, so you can focus on what you do best.
Building a solid brand that can grow rapidly is about having a team of people who can focus on their strengths and not spend time worrying about their weaknesses.
If you don’t have the budget to hire staff to help, consider outsourcing things to freelancers. There are plenty of great freelancers that you can hire from all over the world that can complete small to large projects usually for a flat fee.
Alternatively, you can also utilise marketing automation software to help along with the process. These software tools include:
- Social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer
- Email marketing software like MailChimp or Constant Contact
- Analytical software and tracking like Google Analytics
- Accounting software like Quickbooks
- Website design services like WordPress or SquareSpace
- PPC advertising tools like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
None of these software options are particularly expensive and all of them can help make your day to day a lot easier and more efficient.
Myth #10: Your Growth Strategy Business Plan Needs to Be Perfect
When it comes to growing your business there is never going to be the absolute perfect time to launch ahead with your growth strategies.
While having a solid business plan is a great way to start, sometimes you have to actually put your plan into action in order to work out if it is the best course for your brand.
Especially when you are launching a growth strategy, the most valuable results are going to be in the proof, not in the hypothesis or spreadsheets.
This means that waiting till everything is perfect and your strategy is fail-proof is only going to delay you and set you behind your competition. Get the bare bones of your strategy together and then just start.
Once things are up and running you can then learn where things need tweaking and how to best continue.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not about blindly stabbing around in the dark hoping to strike gold, instead it is about having a plan in place and then using actual results to tweak it and improve it.
Some effective ways you can create a bare bones growth plan without spending a lot of time or money on research is to –
- Emulate what your competition are doing
- Start small and then scale up when you see results
- Experiment with 1-2 things at a time so you can more accurately measure results
- Have tracking set up every step of the way so you can monitor effectiveness
- Stay open to making changes and tweaking things
- Using real time data and statistics to make changes or scale things
By keeping things manageable and copying what others in your industry are doing, it can help take days out of planning and researching and instead prioritise the practical application of your strategy.
Many businesses that spend weeks developing a growth strategy also wind up struggling when things don’t go to plan. This in turn, ends up blocking their chances of growth and leaves them feeling stuck in the narrow-mindedness of their strategy.
By all means have a plan, but keep it flexible until you can see the results working for yourself in real time.
When it comes to growing your business, there is no “one size fits all” plan however, these 10 myths are hopefully ones that you can dispell in order to scale your business up to new heights.
To recap, here are the solutions to the 10 myths that you should avoid if you want to grow your business-
- Get a mobile friendly website that is easy to use
- Keep your SEO strategy up to date
- Get on a social media platform that suits your businesses target audience
- Create regularly updated blog for your business
- Respond to negative feedback but don’t sweat it either
- Focus on growing what you have instead of acquiring more
- Don’t just set your sights on big, high paying clients; expand your reach
- Digital marketing is great, but consider exploring other alternatives as well
- Hire or outsource people to help you grow your business
- Focus on more doing and less planning
Are you ready to grow your business?